UK's Black Friday to hit £10.4bn, fashion and beauty to shine
With the news around UK fashion retail seemingly all-bad at the moment, it was encouraging to hear on Wednesday that some analysts are predicting fashion and beauty to be major beneficiaries of any extra spending that happens in the Black Friday week this year.
However, it also seems that consumers buying into these categories will be heavily focused on discounts, thus undermining retailer attempts to shift full-price goods.
GlobalData said that overall Black Friday sales (covering the period from November 19-26) are forecast to grow faster than the UK retail market in Q4 as a whole, as the promotional period cannibalises spend that might otherwise have happened before and after the event. The end result of this should be a 3.1% year-on-year uplift.
But analyst Zoe Mills said that although Black Friday accounts for around 10.5% of the whole quarter’s spend, growth will continue to slow year-on-year “given the prolific discounting throughout 2018 so far as retailers struggle to convince shoppers to spend.”
Fashion & beauty “will be the best performing sector during 2018’s Black Friday period,” she believes, forecast to grow by 3.8% compared to 2017. That’s partly due to the ever increasing number of specialist names taking part in the event.
“We have seen more clothing retailers participating in the event each year and while a number of big names such as Marks & Spencer are not participating, online pureplays such as Asos, Boohoo and Gymshark are encouraging consumers to move online to get a discount,” she explained.
This higher participation means that the electricals sector, which was once the primary attraction for Black Friday shoppers, will take more of a back seat, although it should still see sales rising 3.2%.
But homewares will struggle, capping a year in which the sector has seen sluggish demand generally. It “will be the weakest sector this year after a muted performance so far and coming up against tough comparatives,” Mills said. “Retailers such as B&Q have also stated that they won’t participate this year, reducing consumer appetite to wait to bag a bargain.”
Importantly too, GlobalData said that the Black Friday event will have a big impact on the timing of purchases in Q4. In fact, 39.9% of 2,000 UK shoppers that it surveyed this month said they intend to buy an item on promotion during the discounting period. And of those shoppers, 55.8% are delaying a purchase to benefit from anticipated reduced prices.
“It highlights how Black Friday is encouraging shoppers to hold back buying full-price items and purchasing during other discounting periods prior to the event as shoppers predict that retailers will drop prices even further during Black Friday, heavily impacting retailer sales in the weeks prior to the event,” Mills added.
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